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Autonomous Systems for Space Exploration

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					                   Autonomous Systems for Space Exploration




                                        Roger Ward
                           Scisys - Head of Autonomous Systems




www.scisys.co.uk
    Company Background
      ICT Software – Bespoke development of innovative
      software systems for complex domains
      Founded (as Science Systems) in 1980 out of ESA/ESOC
      software experts
      London AIM Exchange - Listed in mid 1990’s
      Offices – Bristol, Chippenham, Reading UK, Darmstadt
      Germany
      Approx. 300 technical staff, 140 in Space
      Developing On Board Software for several ESA missions




2
    Spacecraft are already autonomous…

       Although Comsat missions are largely tele-operated, Earth
       Observation and Science Missions often cannot be.
           Attitude control
           Safe Mode
           Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery (FDIR)
       Similarly true for Planetary Landing (eg MER on Mars)
       However to date autonomy (as opposed to automation)
       has generally been minimised




3
    And future missions more ambitious…

       Need for increased science return
       Seen as a science enabler
       Cost of extended ground-based operations
       Spacecraft technologies (avionics) more capable
       More ‘intelligent’ software
       In-situ test platforms increasing available (eg MER, EO-1,
       Proba 1/2)




4
    Future mission needs
     Future missions include deep space, planetary surface
     exploration, multi-sat clusters and in-space construction.
     These require technologies such as:

        Intelligent Spacecraft Health monitoring
        Autonomous Navigation/Locomotion
        In-situ resource planning and re-planning
        Automated target selection/Image Richness
        Formation Flying of spacecraft/ collision avoidance




5
     An Example: The Autonomous Robotic
                  Scientist
          SciSys-led project funded by PPARC CREST programme
          Prototyping a closed loop science system for a Mars rover
          Has ability to autonomously detect interesting science targets
          Determine a response,
          Decide if the response is feasible within the mission
          constraints (Onboard AI planning and scheduling technology)
          Implements FDIR at the mission level.
          Expect to implement on ESA ExoMars Rover (2013)


    PAW



                                                         1           2


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    But there are still obstacles…
       Timescales
           Missions can take 10+ years to realise
       Conservative
           The only subsystem that can save a mission after launch is
           software – treat this with care!
       Technology still a limitation
            Software processors have limited performance (100Mhz)
       Validation, Validation, Validation
           But ground and space based testbeds now in progress




7
    So what about Non-Space?
     Space-like autonomy could interact with other sectors
        involving the management of remote “vehicles”:
        Defence and Aerospace
        Security
        Oil and Gas Exploration
        Construction (eg nuclear)
        Service Sector (eg airports)




8
    Opportunities for Collaboration
       Space can be isolationist, but this is being recognised
       Space has certainly addressed future needs but could be
       huge benfits in technology transfer (both directions).
       Opportunities for joint collaboration include:
           PPARC/EPSRC
           ESA
           MoD
           Regional development agencies
           EC FP7
       Communities
           Space & Planetary Robotics Network SPRN
           Towards Autonomous Robotics Systems TAROS
           Internationally - EUROP, EURON
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     A successful transfer: Aerobots
         SciSys has investigated formation flying missions and also
         Mars aerobots for ESA
         Combined these technologies in response to SEA/MoD
         programme evaluating use of multiple vehicles for
         underwater environment
         Developed a test facility involving three aerobots flying
         autonomous formation/control algorithms




10
     A successful transfer: Aerobots
         SciSys has investigated formation flying missions and also
         Mars aerobots for ESA
         Combined these technologies in response to SEA/MoD
         programme evaluating use of multiple vehicles for
         underwater environment
         Developed a test facility involving three aerobots flying
         autonomous formation/control algorithms




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Description: Autonomous Systems for Space Exploration